* Cenbank guarantees deposits in ‘Bridge Banks’
* Banks didn’t show ability to recapitalise - NDIC
* AMCON to ask investors to capitalise Bridge Banks (Adds AMCON involvement)
By Oludare Mayowa and Camillus Eboh
LAGOS, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corp has taken over the running of three banks rescued in a $4 billion 2009 bailout because they looked unlikely to meet a September 30 central bank recapitalisation deadline.
Assets and liabilities of Springbank SPRINGB.LG, Afribank AFRIBAN.LG and Bank PHB (PLATINU.LG) have been transferred to newly formed Bridge Banks, in the interest of depositors and to prevent possible liquidations, NDIC said.
“Four of the (nine) rescued banks are in the process of concluding merger plans. The three banks have not shown necessary capacity and ability to recapitalise before the September deadline,” said Umaru Ibrahim, NDIC managing director.
Assets from Spring Bank were transferred to a newly formed Enterprise Bank Ltd, Afribank to Mainstreet Bank Ltd, while that of Bank PHB were transferred to Keystone Bank limited.
The central bank said in a statement it had granted licences and extended interbank guarantees to the three Bridge Banks and guaranteed the safety of deposits moved into banks.
The central bank had said the rescued banks had until the end of September to reach recapitalisation deals with new investors or face liquidation if they refuse to accept funds from Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), a state “bad bank,” which would effectively mean nationalisation.
The NDIC said it would operate the Bridge Banks until it engages AMCON to open up negotiation with investors who would be interested in capitalising the newly formed lenders.
“By taking action before the end-September ... the authorities may well be hoping to effect a faster financial sector resolution, thus avoiding the risk of sharply higher interbank rates, or possibly even runs against the rescued institutions,” said Razia Khan, Head of Africa Research at Standard Chartered.
“By announcing these measures late on a Friday afternoon, after the close of markets, the authorities are also allowing time for the markets to digest the implications, and perhaps clarify any outstanding issues,” Khan added. (Additional reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Louise Ireland)